Is a Travel Trailer an RV? Is it or is it not?

two travel trailers

Yes, a trailer is an RV. I’m sure you know that I don’t try to hard sell my articles or make people buy things they don’t need. So I wanted to write a short blog post about whether or not a travel trailer is an rv.

The travel trailer has become the vehicle of choice for many people who want to go out camping. There was a time when a travel trailer wasn't really considered an RV, but that's no longer the case. Whether you call it an rv or not, a quality travel trailer can be a great affordable way to enjoy the outdoors.

What Is An RV?

An RV is a recreational vehicle and there are many types available. RVs, recreational vehicles, often include living quarters built inside a truck or trailer. These can be used as temporary homes or vacation homes, and some people even live in them full-time. They typically have plumbing and kitchen facilities like a refrigerator/freezer, stove, microwave oven, and sink. Most also come equipped with a bathroom The more luxurious ones include air conditioning and heating systems as well as TVs and stereos.

The RV is usually defined as a vehicle that supplies all the necessities of life on the road. The term originated in North America where it refers to any vehicle fitted out with living accommodation such as beds, kitchenettes and bathroom facilities. These vehicles are designed for occasional use rather than permanent occupation so they can be towed behind a car or truck for ease of movement.

What is a travel trailer?

Travel trailers are a type of towable RV that comes in many shapes and sizes. There are small travel trailers (like teardrop trailers), large travel trailers and everything in between! One thing they all have in common is the ability to be towed by your vehicle (as long as it's equipped for towing!).

All RVs have several key components in common:
  • Water system — Fresh water tanks, sink(s), faucet(s), shower, grey and black water tanks.
  • Electrical system — 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC electrical systems.
  • Propane system — Propane tanks (and sometimes a generator).
  • Sanitation system — Toilet and plumbing connected to the grey water tank and black water tank.
  • Kitchen — Kitchen area with sink (connected to the fresh water tank and plumbing) and stove top. Some RVs may even have an oven or microwave.
  • Sleeping accommodations — Beds in private bedrooms or in the main living space.
  • Storage — Storage for clothing, food, gear, etc.

Some RVs have air conditioning or heating systems. Some RVs have slide-outs to make the living space feel larger when parked. Some RVs are built on truck chassis with large storage compartments built into the frame of the RV.

We've covered this before, but let's go through them briefly:
  • Class A motorhome – These RVs are built on a commercial truck chassis frame and range in length from 30 feet to 45 feet in length. The most common length is 35 feet long. There are 2-6 slideouts, 1-2 bathrooms and can sleep up to 8 people. They have large engines to haul the heavy load of this type of RV.
  • Class B motorhome – These campers are built on a van chassis and range from 17 feet to 19 feet in length. They have 1-2 slideouts, 1 bathroom and can sleep 3-4 people maximum. They have smaller engines and get better fuel mileage than Class A motorhomes. Their smaller size allows them to fit into smaller campsites.
  • Class C motorhome – The Class C is built on the same chassis as a cut-away van, which has the cab and engine in front, then living space and sleeping space in the back. This allows for more room, especially if you're looking to have a bathroom or shower/tub. There are some Class Cs with bunkhouse models, and some that can sleep up to 8 or 9 people. Most Class Cs come with one slide out, but you can find some with two. If you want to tow a car behind your RV, many Class Cs are built for this purpose.

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You need a vehicle to tow the travel trailer.

You'll need two things for your travel trailer, a hitch and a tow vehicle. The hitch attaches to your vehicle and allows you to tow the trailer. Some vehicles already come with hitches installed while others require you to install aftermarket hitches yourself or at a professional installation shop. You can check out our article on the best hitches for towing RVs if you're unsure where to start.

Conclusion

Ultimately, whether a travel trailer is an RV or not depends on what you intend to use it for. If you like to camp and simply need something smaller than a motorhome that can serve as your home base with room for sleeping and cooking, then a travel trailer may be the right choice for you. But if you’re looking for something more akin to a luxury hotel room on wheels, it might be worth your while to invest in an expensive motorhome instead.

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